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Journal of Immunology Research
Volume 2015, Article ID 352934, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/352934
Research Article

Age-Related Differences in Percentages of Regulatory and Effector T Lymphocytes and Their Subsets in Healthy Individuals and Characteristic STAT1/STAT5 Signalling Response in Helper T Lymphocytes

1Department of Allergology, Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, University Children’s Hospital, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Bohoričeva 20, SI-1525 Ljubljana, Slovenia
2Department of Laboratory Diagnostics, University Medical Centre Maribor, Ljubljanska Ulica 5, SI-2000 Maribor, Slovenia
3Faculty of Medicine, University of Maribor, Taborska Ulica 8, SI-2000 Maribor, Slovenia
4Institute of Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Zaloška 4, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
5Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Vrazov trg 2, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

Received 29 March 2015; Revised 6 August 2015; Accepted 27 August 2015

Academic Editor: Aurelia Rughetti

Copyright © 2015 Marija Holcar et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The dynamic process of the development of the immune system can in itself result in age-related immune malfunctions. In this study, we analysed lymphocyte subsets in the peripheral blood of 60 healthy donors, divided into groups of children, adolescents, and adults, focusing on effector (Teff) and regulatory (Treg) T lymphocytes and STAT1/STAT5 signalling response in helper T lymphocytes (Th) in adults, using flow cytometry. Our results demonstrate a decrease in the percentage of total Tregs and an increase in the percentage of total Teffs with age and a consequential immense increase in the Teff/Treg ratio. The increase of Teffs was most apparent in Th1, Th1Th17, and Th17CD161− subsets. Significant Th lymphocyte STAT1 expression differences were observed between children and adolescents, which were associated with the decrease in activated Tregs. Higher expression of STAT1 was found in FoxP3hi than in FoxP3low Th lymphocytes, while significant IL-2 induced STAT5 phosphorylation differences were found among the subsets of Th lymphocytes in adults. Our study demonstrates age-related changes in circulating Teff and Treg, as well as significant differences in STAT5/STAT1 signalling among FoxP3+ Th lymphocytes, providing new advances in the understanding of immunosenescence.